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The Daily Tar Heel

Dominant or Not, Women Advance

The point is arguable. But what is certain is the fact that the North Carolina women's soccer team is headed back to the NCAA final four for the 19th time in as many tries.

The Tar Heels got two goals from senior forward Meredith Florance as they defeated Connecticut

3-0 at Fetzer Field on Friday in the quarterfinals of the Women's College Cup.

"It was not too much dominance on one team today like they usually are," said Connecticut coach Len Tsantiris, who watched his team go out in the round of eight for the fifth time in six years. "I don't think it's fair to say that they dominated, with the score 3-0."

If the game wasn't a case of domination, it was close. The Tar Heels outshot the Huskies (17-7-2) by a margin of 17-5 and posted eight corner kicks to Connecticut's zero. They were also never in any significant danger of surrendering a goal.

"I don't want to contradict Lenny," North Carolina coach Anson Dorrance said. "But I will take whatever happened today as a substitution for domination anytime."

UNC (19-3) will play top-ranked Notre Dame (23-0-1), a 2-1 winner against Santa Clara, on Friday in the NCAA semifinals in San Jose, Calif. Portland, which knocked out Penn State, and UCLA, which eliminated Clemson, will face off in the other matchup.

Inspired by a crowd of 2,035 on Friday, the Tar Heels jumped on the Huskies from the start. UNC mounted three good offensive attacks in the match's first eight minutes before breaking through with 13 minutes, 13 seconds elapsed from the clock.

Senior Kalli Kamholz launched a throw-in from the right side into the goal box, where Anne Remy shifted the ball over to Florance for the game's first goal. Florance didn't make solid contact with the ball, but UConn goalkeeper Maria Yatrakis never had a chance for a save because she was screened off on the play.

"We did not create opportunities, and that first goal kind of killed us," Tsantiris said. "We gave a up a very soft goal early on."

The Huskies never could recover, mostly because they could not take care of the ball. The Tar Heels pursued at every position with the relentless pressure for which they are known, and Connecticut couldn't handle it.

Even in the final 15 minutes of the first half, when UNC's intensity waned, the Huskies were too tentative to take advantage of it.

"They came at us, and we haven't played a lot of teams that have pressured us that much," UConn senior forward Jen Carlson said. "We panicked a little bit, and they capitalized on our mistakes."

That nonstop effort of the Tar Heels was never more evident than in the second half, when they turned up the heat an extra notch. Junior Danielle Borgman, who moved to the front line after an injury to Jena Kluegel, helped lead the charge.

Borgman's hustle was responsible for UNC's second goal.

Knocked off the ball deep in UConn territory, Borgman sprinted after it and saved it with a sliding cross before it rolled over the end line. The ball landed right on the foot of Alyssa Ramsey, who was stationed at the near post, and she redirected it to Florance for the goal at 60:26.

Freshman defender Maggie Tomecka added UNC's third goal when she won a ball in the midfield and blasted a shot from 22 yards away into the upper left-hand corner of the net in the 74th minute.

But the game, as many before it at Fetzer Field, had been decided long before then. Florance had made sure of that, scoring her team-leading 24th and 25th goals of the season.

The Tar Heels compiled a 38-1 record at Fetzer Field during Florance's four-year career.

"It was a great feeling to score two goals today," Florance said. "All of the seniors got together after the game, and we were all crying because it hit us that this was our last game on Fetzer.

"It meant a lot to me."

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n The victory improved North Carolina's all-time record against UConn to 14-2.

n The Tar Heels improved their record to 64-3-0 all-time in the NCAA tournament.

n Florance's 25 goals rank her seventh in UNC history for a single season. Her career total of 58 leaves her in ninth place on the school's all-time list.

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